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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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September 2016
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New Kindle Fire Models Any Time Now, But Not Six of Them

A recent report based on information coming from a Staples executive has had the internet abuzz with rumors about there being as many as six Kindle Fire tablets on the way any time now.  Demos Parneros, president of US Retail for Staples Inc, indicated that they have six SKUs ready for the upcoming release.  Naturally Amazon has declined to comment on any of these rumors, but the chances of there actually being six new tablets on the way are incredibly low.

This is not to say there will be nothing new.  Chances are very good that both a 7” Kindle Fire and a larger 10” Kindle Fire will be released at the same time.  We also have information from previous such stories that tells us the existing Kindle Fire will be re-released at a lower price with a slightly improved screen to help Amazon once again corner the Android tablet market.  It’s reasonable to expect that will be as far as the expansion of the line goes, however.

New SKUs do not mean entirely distinct new products.  If we assume that at least one of the tablets will have 4G connectivity available as an option, that option would be its own distinct SKU.  The same would be true for each variation in storage space.  An 8GB Kindle Fire and a 16GB Kindle Fire would be separated even if they were otherwise identical.

Six SKUs could be as simple as Amazon offering either extra storage space or optional 4G connectivity for each of the three models we are expecting.  Alternatively, we may still see only 7” releases at this time and find a “Kindle Fire Original” along with Kindle Fire 2 models featuring varying combinations of storage space and such.  It isn’t hard to come up with minor variations that account for the Staples information.

All of the speculation about there being completely unexpected products, such as a Kindle Phone, is jumping the gun.  That sort of thing may happen, and some people consider it to be almost inevitable, but it will not be coming in the next could weeks.  After all, what sense would it make for Amazon to release so many options that no particular Kindle Fire successor was able to capture public interest?  This is clearly a company that knows better than to do something that reckless, however sure they may be of their position in the market right this minute.

Kindle Fire vs iPad 3 Is Easy, But Will Kindle Fire 2 Change Things?

I’ve gone over the fact that choosing a Kindle Fire or iPad isn’t really a tough decision before.  They are completely different devices that offer drastically different capabilities to their users.  A Kindle Fire could no more replace everything an iPad does than it could a traditional Desktop PC, but buying an iPad to do nothing more than what the Kindle Fire is capable of is wasteful at best.  There is some speculation that this will be changing in the fairly near future, however, and we have to wonder how well Amazon can hope to pull off a direct confrontation.

Their strength has been the ability to present a device that does exactly what it sets out to do, does it well, and doesn’t claim to be able to do anything more.  The Kindle eReader can be adapted to type on if a user feels like it, but Amazon never advertises it as a tool for that.  The Kindle Fire was provided with just enough power to handle movie watching and most common apps.  To be able to compete with an iPad on Apple’s terms, Amazon would have to be prepared for just about anything a user would want to do.

Some of these things are easy.  Cameras, which most people are either convinced or at least hopeful that the Kindle Fire 2 will have, would go a long way toward making it a better communications device.  A mic, which obviously would be needed in almost any situation where a camera would be useful, would also allow for voice controls and speech-to-text.  The larger screen would offer users greater real estate for customizing their experience and developers more leeway to add in features or information in ways that couldn’t fit on a smaller device.  To really match the iPad 3 side by side though, they would need more.

It is pretty safe to say that the Kindle Fire 2 will not have a Retina Display.  It will also not have multi-touch capabilities able to handle significantly more than two contact points at a time.  The screen will be larger, which is useful, but the impact of that can’t be assumed to cover everything.  In terms of processing power, graphics capabilities, and any number of other factors, there is little reason to believe that Amazon has a chance at taking the lead in general use situations.

Does this mean that a larger Kindle Fire will flop?  I don’t believe so.  If Amazon can keep the price down, it will still stand out.  Apple’s keeping the iPad 2 available at $400 is ingenious in that it makes the comparison with a 9-10” competitor at $300-350 closer than it would be otherwise, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room to move in.  Really the only question will be how much they advertise what the new Kindle Fire is meant to do.  If they can make it clear that despite being larger it is still a purely consumption drive design, that will work as an advantage.  If they seem to be actively trying to create and sell a full featured tablet, it will take something big.